It’s no secret that there are a lot of different makeup brushes in the world. From eye shadow to blush and even contour brushes, many of them are specialized to perform one specific task. But then you have those hero brushes that do some serious heavy lifting and leave you with a flawless finish that you never knew was possible.
We’re talking about our Stippling Brush. This dual-fiber brush can seem intimidating but is quite easy to use and gives you that coveted airbrushed finish since it applies and buffs simultaneously when you use it. Better still, our Stippling Brush is designed from cruelty-free synthetic fibers that won’t absorb product — meaning that you won’t waste your money. Stippling brushes are great for applying brush, bronzer, and contour. But if you’ve never considered applying foundation with a stippling brush, our quick tutorial will tell you everything you need to know to make this your new favorite foundation brush.
What is a Stippling Brush?
Let’s start with the basics. As we mentioned in the introduction, a stippling brush is a dual-layer brush that’s used primarily to apply complexion makeup. But to really dig deep into this hero product, we need to go back just a bit. Stippling comes from an art world technique where you create art using tiny dots of paint. It creates a softer effect than using traditional brush strokes.
In makeup opting for a dotted effect rather than traditional brush strokes can create what’s known as an airbrush finish. Essentially, it means that your makeup looks flawless and it’s hard to see any possible imperfections that might otherwise be visible by simply painting or applying makeup with a traditional flat paddle foundation brush or even a kabuki brush.
What Does a Stippling Brush Look Like?
Most stippling brushes will have two sets of bristles. And when you look at most of them, they’ll be two-toned. For example, our Stippling Brush has two types of fibers, a lighter white top layer, and a denser black layer.
Traditionally, stippling brushes featured a combination of both natural (black layer) and synthetic fibers (white layer). However, our stippling brush is made from 100% synthetic, cruelty-free fibers. The white fibers feature a flat top and work to pick up product — such as when you dab it into a foundation powder pan — and apply it to your skin. Meanwhile, the dense black fibers push the product into the skin, helping to blend and buff it out for a natural effect.
Can’t I Achieve the Same Results with Other Brushes?
In theory, you can create that stippling action with other brushes, but it’s not as easy to do. For example, you can technically use a kabuki brush to apply foundation with a stippling motion. But because you don’t have dual-layer fibers, it’s easy to make a mistake and apply too much product that ends up looking heavy and poorly blended.
What Can I Use a Stippling Brush For?
The most popular use for a stippling brush is to use it for foundation applications. It’s especially ideal for people that want an airbrushed finish, or want to avoid telltale lines of demarcation where their foundation ends and their skin begins.
However, it’s also great for applying blush, contour, and bronzer. Our Stippling Brush works with liquid, cream, and powder formulas, making it an ideal multipurpose solution. Just be sure to clean it between uses to prevent makeup transfer.
Things to Consider
Using a stippling brush is very easy and can help you speed through makeup applications. But before you pick up that brush, make sure you’ve got the right foundation and that your skin is properly prepped.
Which Coverage Level Do You Prefer?
Foundation is available usually in three coverage levels — sheer, medium-to-full, and full coverage. Sheer foundations are usually tinted moisturizers and offer a hint of color. These are best for “no makeup” looks or someone who wants to even out their skin tone or hide minor blemishes.
Medium-to-full coverage foundation is the most common formulation and a fan favorite because it’s buildable. If you prefer sheerer coverage, apply a thin layer that can even out hyperpigmentation or hide minor imperfections. It offers a “your skin but better” look. But if you need more coverage, just apply more layers to reach your desired coverage.
And full coverage is best for more serious makeup goals like a photoshoot or special event. It’s also better for covering more serious hyperpigmentation or skin blemishes.
Don’t Forget Skin Prep
If makeup is art then your skin is a canvas. So, always start with clean, properly prepped skin. This means that your face has been washed and moisturized. And depending on your activities or makeup goals, you might want to use a primer before you begin applying foundation. Primer works as a base that can prevent makeup from shifting or fading throughout the day.
Applying Foundation with a Stippling Brush
One of the nice things about the stippling brush is that it does a lot of the heavy lifting for you when you’re applying foundation. And as we mentioned, our Stippling Brush works with powder, liquid, and cream formulas. And especially for people that prefer creams and liquids, a stippling brush in your collection is a must-have to create a natural finish.
Apply Your Product
Depending on your formula, you’ll have a few options for applying it to your skin. With a powder or cream-to-powder foundation, you’ll begin by swirling your stippling brush in the powder, tapping the handle to remove any excess, and then applying the brush to your face. Apply product to your main features — the cheekbones, forehead, nose, and jaw — using a gentle tapping motion.
But with liquid and cream foundations, you may find that you get better results by first applying the product directly to your skin and then blending it with the stippling brush. Regardless of which formula you prefer, with stippling brushes, less is more. This is because the goal is to create an undetectable finish that looks flawless. So, if you apply too much product, no matter how much you buff it’ll look like you’re wearing a full face of foundation.
While you can focus solely on applying dots of product directly to your main features, if you have a liquid or cream foundation, you can also add dots wherever you need additional coverage — such as your eyelids.
Note that you can also opt to use your brush to apply product directly to your face. To do this, pour a bit of foundation onto a palette or the back of your hand. Dip the stippling brush so that just the white longer hairs are dipped into the foundation. Then, lightly pat the stippling brush across your face to distribute the foundation.
Blend and Buff
As we mentioned, stippling brushes are great because they do a lot of the work for you in just one step. Once you’ve applied your product, use small circular motions to blend the foundation across your face, working outward towards your hairline and down to your neck to make it undetectable.
Tips for a Flawless Finish
Stippling brushes take a lot of the guesswork out of properly applying foundation. But there are still a few tricks that will help you nail a flawless finish.
Pick the Right Foundation Shade
A stippling brush can only do so much to give you an airbrushed, natural finish. If you pick a foundation that’s too light or dark, there isn’t enough blending and buffing in the world that will convince anyone that your foundation is really your skin — just with excellent skin prep.
Regardless of your preferred coverage level, the key to a perfect foundation application is picking a shade that matches the real you. So, if you’re not entirely sure you’ve picked the right shade, check out our tutorial on how to pick the right foundation.
Larger is Better for Foundation Applications
Stippling brushes come in a range of sizes. But for all-over foundation applications, a larger brush head is ideal. It ensures more even product distribution, which can be a plus for people who don’t like to wear a lot of makeup.
Have Acne or Other Blemishes? Get a Stippling Brush!
If you’re trying to conceal skin blemishes like acne or texture from old scars, a stippling brush is a must. Unlike traditional powder brushes which can enhance texture by layering product onto scars, stippling brushes swipe product over them, helping to minimize their appearance.
Use a Damp Stippling Brush for Sheer Coverage
If you’re not a fan of full coverage foundation, you can still use a stippling brush to your advantage. Use an atomizer or gentle mist bottle to dampen (not soak!) the bristles on your stippling brush before applying product. This will help to sheer out your foundation for a “your skin but better” effect.